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What's On, Lifestyle

RHS Flower Shows Oxfordshire 2023

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Flower Show

Visiting a flower show can be a wonderful and memorable experience for gardeners, florists and those who love being outdoors, soaking up the fun-filled atmosphere and ambience of such events.

You will come home full of ideas of what to try in your own garden – whatever its size – and which plants will give you months of pleasure as they grow and bloom. If you have never visited one of the RHS Flower Shows, make 2023 the year you do so. There are three that are easily accessible from the Oxfordshire area, each one providing a fabulous day out filled with inspiration – Malvern, Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace.

Malvern

The setting for RHS Malvern, held at the Three Counties Showground from 11 - 14 May 2023, provides the perfect location for the first big flower show of the year. With the Malvern Hills as a backdrop, the grounds are easily accessible by train from Oxford using the Cotswold Line and there is a free shuttle bus from the station to the extensive show grounds.

The theme for this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival is Gardening for Everyone, focusing on making gardening and horticulture accessible to all whilst encouraging gardeners to implement sustainable and planet-friendly practices. Stunning show gardens and practical feature gardens will send you home full of ideas. For gardeners looking to grow their own vegetables and herbs, there is a new Bloom & Grow Area where you find garden sundry retailers together with an allotment garden. Experts are on hand to give advice about growing produce at home and the Bloom & Grow Theatre provides demos with top tips for growing a range of herbs and vegetables. There are also displays from local florists giving ideas of how to get the most from your flower garden.

If you enjoy al fresco cooking and dining, a visit to the new Fire & Smoke Theatre will give you tasty ideas of how to get the most from cooking outdoors. Talented chefs and outstanding local food producers will present, and you will find a range of artisan food and drink producers from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire selling a range of delicious items. Plus, over 50 of the UK’s best nurseries are located in the RHS Floral Marquee offering the best of lifestyle, garden and homeware.

Chelsea

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from the 23 -27 May is the most prestigious flower show in the world, attracting in the region of 168,000 visitors each year. The theme for this year’s show, sponsored by the Newt Somerset, is Restorative Gardens. As we all found out during lockdown, turning to gardening can contribute positively to our health and well-being as well as being good for the environment. This year’s show demonstrates how to create inclusive green spaces for socially deprived communities, enabling them to connect with nature. These include gardens for patient recovery, which make up some of the twelve main Show Gardens. You may have read our article about Horatio’s Garden in the January edition of OX Magazine and if you are planning a visit to Chelsea, look out for the first show garden created by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg. Another designer we have previously featured is Chris Beardshaw who, this year, will be creating a show garden in support of Myeloma UK entitled A Life Worth Living Garden.

The 2023 Sanctuary Gardens embrace the benefits gardening has on our mental and physical wellbeing. The RHS Chelsea’s Great Pavilion is the place to find some of the world’s finest growers and nurseries, all exhibiting impressive displays and offering expert advice on how to get the most from the plants they have available. Family run business Harkness Roses will once again be launching new roses which will include some in aid of charities. During 2022, they launched the Dame Deborah James Rose with £2.50 from each rose sold paid to the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK. Located within the Great Pavilion you will also find the Discovery Zone, home to educational exhibits promoting the latest discoveries in horticultural science.

Hampton Court

Finally, 4 - 9 July is the time to visit the world’s largest flower show, when RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival gets underway. Relaunched as a festival, stretching over 34 acres, not only are there glorious Show Gardens, a Rose Marquee and Floral Marquee to enjoy, there are a number of artists and performers appearing in many staged events. The RHS has been involved with the Hampton Court event since 1993 which attracts around 140,000 people each summer. Highlights for 2023 include the Grow Your Own allotment, A Festival of Roses, the school Bug Barrels Challenge, Ask the Expert at the Get Growing Festival stage, the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies will be offering a variety of workshops and demonstrations and Flowers for the Farm will be on hand with advice on how to grow your own cut flowers.

For further information on the various RHS Flowers Shows and to buy your tickets, please visit rhs.org.uk/shows-events.

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